Meet the staff

Learn more about the staff at Downe House.

Leadership Team

Emma McKendrick Downe House Headmistress

Mrs Emma McKendrick

Headmistress

Mrs Emma McKendrick has been the Headmistress of Downe House School for twenty five years. Read the welcome from the Headmistress.

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Mrs Emma McKendrick

Headmistress

Emma is a linguist who was educated at the Universities of Liverpool and Birmingham. She was Headmistress of the Royal School Bath from 1994-97 and took up her appointment as Headmistress of Downe House in 1997.

She has a great deal of experience as a Governor of a variety of independent Senior and Prep Schools and was a member of the Independent Schools’ Examination Board. She is a Trustee of the Prep School Baccalaureate, a Member of GSA, HMC and BSA and a Fellow of the RSA.

She is married and has two sons. When time allows, she enjoys travel, the theatre and cinema, and spending time with her family.

Matthew Godfrey

Mr Matthew Godfrey

Deputy Head

Mr Matthew Godfrey joined Downe House in September 2021. Matthew holds a wealth of experience in educational leadership and boarding environments and will bring much to our community.

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Mr Matthew Godfrey

Deputy Head

Matthew joined Downe House as Deputy Head in September 2021. Matthew holds a wealth of experience in educational leadership and boarding environments and will bring much to our community.

He is a graduate of Durham University and holds a Master’s Degree in Education. He started his career with the global consultancy firm Accenture but decided to switch to teaching after seven years in business. Matthew completed his teacher training at the Institute of Education (University of London) in 2000 and has taught English at secondary schools ever since in both the maintained and independent sectors.

Most recently, he was Deputy Head (External Relations) at Caterham School in Surrey; before this, he was Director of Boarding at Brighton College.

Matthew enjoys writing and, for a period, wrote a column about teaching in the Daily Telegraph. Matthew is a keen tennis player and hiker. He is married with three children: a daughter, who is a Sixth Former at Downe House, and two sons.

Genevieve Ford

Mrs Genevieve Ford

Deputy Head (Pastoral)

Mrs Genevieve Ford became Deputy Head (Pastoral) at Downe House after working as Housemistress of AGS and then Head of Upper School. Genevieve is responsible for the residential welfare, pastoral care and wellbeing of each student, working closely with Housestaff.

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Mrs Genevieve Ford

Deputy Head (Pastoral)

Mrs Genevieve Ford became Deputy Head (Pastoral) at Downe House after working as Housemistress of AGS and then Head of Upper School. Genevieve is responsible for the residential welfare, pastoral care and wellbeing of each student, working closely with Housestaff.

Genevieve graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in Theology and Religious Studies. After becoming a member of the Downe House community, she became an Upper School Housemistress before accepting the role of Head of Upper School. Genevieve has an in-depth understanding of boarding and life at Downe House and works closely with staff across the School to ensure that every girl feels secure, known and safe. As Deputy Head (Pastoral), Genevieve has introduced and is constantly developing the unique-to-Downe Wellbeing programme, Finding Balance, which seeks to promote self-care, healthy minds and bodies. Genevieve is also the School’s Designated Safeguarding Lead.

“We feel very privileged in our roles and work closely with parents and the girls to ensure that there is strong communication and mutual trust.”

Mr Mark Hill

Deputy Head (Academic)

Mr Mark Hill is Deputy Head (Academic) at Downe House and is also involved in the Sixth Form curriculum as a teacher of History and academic tutor.

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Mr Mark Hill

Deputy Head (Academic)

Mr Mark Hill is Deputy Head (Academic) at Downe House and is also involved in the Sixth Form curriculum as a teacher of History and academic tutor.

Mark completed his first degree in History, pursuing research by completing an MA in International Relations and History. Mark then started working in publishing for an American company. As a career shift, Mark then trained to be a teacher and undertook a PGCE. After qualifying as a teacher, Mark had a variety of roles in a range of different maintained schools and colleges including Head of Key Stage, Head of Department and Head of Year.

At Downe House, Mark is responsible for academic aspects of the School such as curriculum development, assessment design and development. He has worked closely with Cambridge Assessment on qualification development and undertook a Masters in Education 2006-2008, specialising in assessment design and leadership capacity building. Mark certainly exemplifies the statement that “learning is a lifelong experience” and is currently studying for an MSc in Human Resource Management which aids his current role as Deputy Head (Academic), as well as teaching History and being an Academic Tutor in the Sixth Form.

Miss Kate Eaves

Assistant Head (Lower School)

As Assistant Head (Lower School), Miss Kate Eaves oversees the academic progress and pastoral care of Remove and the Lower Fourth, ensuring our very youngest pupils have the most enriching, challenging but supportive start to their senior school journey. 

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Miss Kate Eaves

Assistant Head (Lower School)

As Assistant Head (Lower School), Miss Kate Eaves oversees the academic progress and pastoral care of Remove and the Lower Fourth, ensuring our very youngest pupils have the most enriching, challenging but supportive start to their senior school journey. 

Kate’s expertise, experience and energy is invaluable as we continue to give our very youngest pupils the most enriching, challenging but supportive start to their senior school journey.  

Throughout her career in independent education, Kate has had a particular interest in pastoral care and a strong affinity with boarding; having been a day pupil who made the most of the boarding environment herself. Kate joins Downe House from Wetherby Senior School, where she has enjoyed the opportunity to have significant input into the educational and pastoral life of a new and growing school.  

Notable amongst the highlights of Kate’s career has been leading initiatives such as an inspirational lecture series aimed at encouraging pupils to aim for success whilst also having a positive impact on the communities around them. She also implemented a Lower School pupil-coaching programme, ensuring pupils gain the skills they need to develop and meet their potential both academically and emotionally, and lead successful, well-rounded lives beyond school. 

Anna Deputy Head

Mrs Anna Dourountakis

Assistant Head (Upper School)

As Assistant Head (Upper School), Mrs Anna Dourountakis oversees the academic progress and pastoral care of the Upper Fourth, Lower Fifth and Upper Fifth during which girls complete their GCSEs.

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Mrs Anna Dourountakis

Assistant Head (Upper School)

As Assistant Head (Upper School), Mrs Anna Dourountakis oversees the academic progress and pastoral care of the Upper Fourth, Lower Fifth and Upper Fifth during which girls complete their GCSEs.

Before working at Downe House, Anna worked at various schools in the UK. Her career in education spans nearly twenty years and she is passionate about educating girls. Anna has worked within a boarding environment for the past twelve years and fully values the benefits of this model of education.

Anna graduated with Honours from the University of Natal (Durban) and then went on to receive a Postgraduate Diploma in Education.

“In the Upper School, we seek to encourage all of our girls to become more academically focussed, independent and outward-looking. Pastorally my main focus is that girls should be fundamentally happy and encouraged to develop a positive self-concept, sound judgement and motivation to succeed. My office has an ‘open-door policy’ ensuring that girls can get to see me effortlessly.”

Mel Stimson

Ms Melissa Stimson

Assistant Head (Sixth Form)

Starting out as a teacher of History and Politics, Ms Melissa Stimson also acquired extensive experience of working in boarding schools in Housestaff roles and is now Assistant Head (Sixth Form) at Downe House.

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Ms Melissa Stimson

Assistant Head (Sixth Form)

Starting out as a teacher of History and Politics, Ms Melissa Stimson also acquired extensive experience of working in boarding schools in Housestaff roles and is now Assistant Head (Sixth Form) at Downe House.

Mel started her teaching career in Scotland after graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a History degree and completing a PGCE in Glasgow. Since then she has gradually moved further south working in Preston, Oundle and Bristol!

After realising how much she enjoyed being involved in students’ academic and social development, she knew this was an area she wished to pursue further and took on additional pastoral roles.

Mel was appointed Assistant Head (Sixth Form) in 2012 and oversees the Housestaff teams of York and Willis as well as working with academic staff and tutors to support the girls’ academic progress.

“Being Head of Sixth Form at Downe House is a multi-faceted role and I thoroughly enjoy the variety of my current post as no two days are ever the same!”

Philipa Toogood

Mrs Philippa Toogood

Assistant Head (Operations)

Philippa has had a long career encompassing different roles at Downe House. Overseeing operations, events and the running of the Murray Centre, Philippa is on the Leadership Team as Assistant Head (Operations).

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Mrs Philippa Toogood

Assistant Head (Operations)

Philippa has had a long career encompassing different roles at Downe House. Overseeing operations, events and the running of the Murray Centre, Philippa is on the Leadership Team as Assistant Head (Operations).

Philippa graduated from the University of Leeds in 1996 with a degree in Theology and Religious Studies and then completed her PGCE at Canterbury Christ Church College. After teaching posts in North Oxfordshire and at Sherborne School for Girls, she joined Downe House in September 2003 as a part-time teacher of Religious Studies. Philippa took on the full-time role of Head of Religious Studies a year later.

Further posts at Downe including Examinations Officer and Director of Studies have allowed Philippa a significant amount of contact with girls, staff and parents around the School. She then became temporary Head of Sixth Form before being appointed as Director of the Murray centre, overseeing the academic daily life of the building as well as putting on an exciting and broad academic enrichment programme of events. Philippa is now Assistant Head (Operations), managing the ins an outs of life at Downe House.

I have found great satisfaction in being part of a team that helps them to realise their ambitions and go forwards into university or a career as confident and independent young women.

Kate Tuttle

Mrs Kate Tuttle

HR Director

Mrs Kate Tuttle heads up the HR team and is also involved in daily school life as an academic tutor for AGS Upper School girls.

David McClymont

Mr David McClymont

Director of Digital Delivery and Innovation

As Director of Digital Delivery and Innovation, David McClymont contributes to the School’s Digital Strategy and how technology is used to enhance the Academic, Pastoral and Operational aspects of School life.

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Mr David McClymont

Director of Digital Delivery and Innovation

As Director of Digital Delivery and Innovation, David McClymont contributes to the School’s Digital Strategy and how technology is used to enhance the Academic, Pastoral and Operational aspects of School life.

David joined Downe House as Network Manager before becoming Director of Digital Delivery and Innovation. In his role, he manages the AV, IT and Software Support teams to ensure that all the technology is optimised to facilitate learning and the sharing of information and, importantly, makes working easier for staff, pupils and parents.

David is a passionate technologist and has driven our digital teaching and learning strategy, noticeably the roll-out of the Microsoft Surface Programme. David was instrumental in the School’s success at achieving Microsoft Showcase School status in 2018, an accolade we are proud to have retained for five years. He and his team help other members of staff become accredited Microsoft Innovative Educators.

David is joined at Downe House by his wife Sofia McClymont, who is our Director of Boarding.

Alasdair Heath

Mr Alasdair Heath

Director of Estates and Services

As the Director of Estates and Services Alasdair ensures that the practicalities of daily life at Downe House run smoothly. He oversees the Estates, Catering, Security, Housekeeping and Gardening teams as well as the School’s Health and Safety and Insurance functions.

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Mr Alasdair Heath

Director of Estates and Services

As the Director of Estates and Services Alasdair ensures that the practicalities of daily life at Downe House run smoothly, he oversees the Estates, Catering, Security, Housekeeping and Gardening teams as well as the School’s Health and Safety and Insurance functions.

Alasdair is also responsible for developing the School’s estate strategy, be that our new buildings (most recently the development of the Murray Centre and new Lower School Boarding houses) as part of the Ten Year Vision, or the cyclical renovations of our boarding houses, communal spaces and classrooms. When away from Downe, Alasdair is studying for an MBA, coaches Scotland age-group rugby teams and is the Chairman of Newbury Rugby Club.

Mr Kevin Elliott

Director of Finance and Business Enterprise

Mr Kevin Elliot is our Director of Finance and Business Enterprise, he is on the Leadership Team and oversees the Finance Department.

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Mr Kevin Elliott

Director of Finance and Business Enterprise

After studying Business and Finance Kevin moved into hotel management in Hong Kong. Through training hotel staff he began a career in teaching and moved to Japan. In Japan Kevin taught English, Technology and Drama ultimately becoming the head of the Fine Arts Department. He then moved to school business management becoming the Director of Finance and Business Operations (Bursar) for Canadian Academy, Kobe, after which he moved to the British School in Tokyo to become the first Director of Operations. In 2019 Kevin moved to Beijing to work at Dulwich College Beijing as the Director of Business Administration (Bursar). We were delighted to welcome Kevin to Downe House in September 2022 as the Director of Finance and Business Enterprise.

Pastoral Management and Housemistresses

Ellie Lleywellen

Mrs Ellen Llewellyn

Director of Pupil Wellbeing

Mrs Ellen Llewellyn joined Downe House in September 2014 and after a year working in Willis House, she become a Sixth Form Housemistress in York House. Ellen has been part of the Senior Management Team for some time, and has recently been appointed Director of Pupil Wellbeing. In this new role, Ellen is instrumental in ensuring that our pupils’ wellbeing and safety continue to be at the heart of everything we do.

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Mrs Ellen Llewellyn

Director of Pupil Wellbeing

Throughout her career, Ellen has worked in various schools as a Psychology teacher, including two years at an international school in Bejiing. She has always held the role of Sixth Form tutor and as such has been heavily involved in the UCAS process, seeing students successfully gain places at Oxford and Cambridge and various prestigious universities both in the UK and overseas.

Alongside overseeing the pastoral wellbeing and academic progress of the girls in York, Ellen provided individual guidance for the Sixth Form girls to take them through the UCAS process and the array of higher education options available to them as a Higher Education Advisor.

Ellen has been part of the Senior Management Team for some time, and has recently been appointed Director of Pupil Wellbeing. In this new role, Ellen is instrumental in ensuring that our pupils’ wellbeing and safety continue to be at the heart of everything we do. Ellen now has a broad remit, with responsibilities ranging from overseeing our Learning for Life (formerly PSHE) programme and the wellbeing provision in the boarding houses and CCA programmes, to ensuring we meet our statutory obligations for our boarding provision and chairing our Student Wellbeing Committee.

Mrs Sofie McClymont

Director of Boarding

Mrs Sofie McClymont is Director of Boarding and she works with the pastoral team and the Heads of Section to provide outstanding pastoral care and support for our pupils.

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Mrs Sofie McClymont

Director of Boarding

Sofie brings a wealth of experience from her previous career as a solicitor, specialising in employment law. Sofie’s interest in law stemmed from doing work experience when she was at school in a criminal law practice which led to her going on to study law at Cardiff University, a Diploma in Legal Practice and a two-year training contract with Geldards LLP in Cardiff.  Following her qualification, she moved to a permanent position at Royds Withy King in Wiltshire.

Her introduction to Downe House came through her husband, David McClymont who joined the IT Department in November 2007 and is now Director of Digital Delivery and Innovation. As Sofie got to know the School, she became increasingly interested in working with the girls in a pastoral role and started to work in AGS House just one evening a week in January 2013. Within six months, she took on the post of Assistant Housemistress and the following year, she stepped up to the role of Housemistress for AGS House. In September 2020, Sophie took up the role of Director of Boarding (House Management). Over eight years on, Sofie hasn’t looked back and in addition, she worked within the Learning Skills Department providing one to one support for a number of girls at Downe House. Sofie gained her OCR Diploma in Teaching Learners with Dyslexia and Specific Learning Difficulties and continued studying her Level 7 Diploma in Dyslexia Assessment and Intervention.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my role as Housemistress, helping and motivating the girls to get the most out of their everyday school life.”

Sofie is now the Director of Boarding with the responsibility for House Activities, CCA Liaison, Managing the Transition Programmes between Sections, Evening Duty Rotas and ensuring parity of boarding experience across Houses.

5.5 Meet the Staff Kim Collingwood Hermitage Housemistress downe house school

Mrs Kim Collingwood

Hermitage Housemistress, Teacher of PE

With years of experience working at independent boarding schools, Kim Collingwood joined the Downe House staff in 2016.

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Mrs Kim Collingwood

Hermitage Housemistress, Teacher of PE

Kim grew up in Rutland before going to Loughborough University of Technology to read Physical Education, Sports Science and Recreation Management. Whilst at university she participated in many different sports and also competed successfully as an amateur jockey, point-to-point steeplechasing around the country at weekends. After graduating, Kim completed her PGCE at Homerton College, Cambridge, before taking her first Assistant Housemistress and teaching post in Bristol.

Before joining Downe House, Kim taught at a girls’ boarding school in Ascot, performing many different roles including Assistant Housemistress, Duke of Edinburgh Leader and Head of Year in a number of key stages. Kim believes an important aspect of a successful boarding house lies in setting standards and developing a positive ethos where each individual feels valued, safe and secure. As Housemistress of Hermitage Kim works hard to ensure each girl in her care enjoys all the opportunities available to her whilst being fully supported by the dedicated Hermitage team. Kim also gets involved in the wider school community as a teacher of PE, specialising in netball and cross-country.

Kim lives onsite with her husband Mark, their two children Jake and Skye aged eight and five and their dog Tanner.

Ms Anna Lister

Hill Housemistress

Anna joined Downe House from Rugby School’s international sister school in Thailand, where she was both Head of Art and Design and Housemistress.

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Ms Anna Lister

Hill Housemistress

Anna joined Downe House from Rugby School’s international sister school in Thailand, where she was both Head of Art and Design and Housemistress. Prior to this she worked at Ampleforth College as both Deputy Housemistress and Teacher of Art. 

Having spent her childhood growing up in a boarding house where her Father was a Housemaster and moving immediately into a residential boarding role from University, the boarding school environment brings a sense of familiarity to her and a true understanding of the hard work, dedication and care that goes into a House Parent position. 

In addition to painting and drawing, Anna has a particular interest in mental health, and is currently working on the completion of an MSc in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Wellbeing. She is a great lover of the outdoors and enjoys spending time at her family home in the Scottish Highlands. 

Anna lives in Hill with her son, Oscar, and their friendly golden retriever, Milo.

Mrs Sophie Hughes

Darwin Housemistress

Sophie brings a wealth of school leadership and Physical Education experience to her Housemistress role at Downe House.

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Mrs Sophie Hughes

Darwin Housemistress

Sophie joined Downe House from the City of Freemen’s School, where she was teaching Physical Education in addition to being the Head of Year 7 or Year 8 in alternating years. Before her teaching career, she studied Sport and Exercise Science at Sheffield Hallam University.

Sophie lives with her husband Mike and their young daughter Elodie as well as the wonderful dog, Milo the beagle.

Sophie said, “I believe that your school years are a truly special time and my aim is to support the girls in every aspect of their school life. The Darwin Team and I work hard to ensure that every member of the House is encouraged to express herself without trepidation, whilst taking full advantage of the huge variety of opportunities that Downe House offers.”

Miss Becky Hillier

Aisholt Housemistress, Teacher of Religious Studies and Lyceum Learning

Becky joined Downe House following two years as a Resident Tutor at Dauntsey’s, where she was also Head of Religious Studies and Philosophy, and brings a wealth of experience to her Housemistress role at Downe House..

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Miss Becky Hillier

Aisholt Housemistress, Teacher of Religious Studies and Lyceum Learning

Becky joined Downe House following two years as a Resident Tutor at Dauntsey’s, where she was also Head of Religious Studies and Philosophy. Before this, Becky was Director of Enrichment and Head of Religious Studies at an independent girl’s day school in Buckinghamshire. Before becoming a teacher, Becky studied Social Anthropology with French at Sussex University, with a year abroad at Universite Laval, Quebec.

Having been a boarder herself since the age of 7, Becky knows what it is like to live in a home away from home, how important the support from House Staff is, and what a difference a boarding education can make. There are so many opportunities available to girls at Downe and Becky believes that the education and experiences Aisholt girls get will set them up beautifully for successful, happy, and fulfilling lives in the future.

Becky lives with her partner Jon in the holidays and is slowly learning to love running.

Mrs Jane Uncles

AGN Housemistress, Teacher of History

Jane previously led in both pastoral and academic roles including Head of Humanities and History, and Assistant Head of Years 10 and 11. She brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to her role to support and facilitate each girl in AGN in their personal and academic development.

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Mrs Jane Uncles

AGN Housemistress, Teacher of History

Jane joins Downe House from Badminton School, where she was the Sixth Form Housemistress, teaching History and leading the Global Perspectives course. Her undergraduate degree is in History and Politics and she has a Master’s in Education from Bristol University. Jane previously led in both pastoral and academic roles including Head of Humanities and History, and Assistant Head of Years 10 and 11.

‘Living and learning in an all girls, all boarding environment provides the time and opportunities for each girl to develop and flourish, to confidently discover herself, and I bring a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to my role to support and facilitate each girl in AGN in their personal and academic development.’

Jane has two Jack Russell puppies, William and Humphrey  who enjoy exploring the beautiful woodland AGN is set in and getting to know all the girls in the House.

Jade Vidler Acting Housemistress AGS

Miss Jade Vidler

AGS Housemistress, Teacher of Learning for Life

With a specialist background in Childhood, Education and Society, Jade is passionate about providing pastoral care and creating a homely environment.

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Miss Jade Vidler

AGS Housemistress, Teacher of Learning for Life

With a specialist background and degree in Childhood, Education and Society, Jade has an extensive background in childcare, running her own nannying agency, and working for an education-based NGO which uses education as a force for good and leading trips to Uganda and Ecuador. Jade previously worked and lived in Spain, where she was an Assistant Housemistress at an international school, and gained her teaching qualifications.

Jade loves the boarding school environment and all that it offers and is passionate about providing pastoral care and creating a homely environment where everyone feels welcomed and cared for. She can’t wait to pair her pastoral experience with her role as Teacher of Learning for Life.

Jade lives in AGS with her partner and likes to be active and play hockey in her spare time.

Miss Rosalie McCann

Holcombe Housemistress, Teacher of Drama

Rosie continues to cultivate a happy and caring environment in Holcombe, moving from Assistant Housemistress to Housemistress in September 2021. As a teacher of drama, Rosie looks forward to helping the Holcombe girls find their voices.

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Miss Rosalie McCann

Holcombe Housemistress, Teacher of Drama

Rosie continues to cultivate a happy and caring environment in Holcombe, moving from Assistant Housemistress to Housemistress in September 2021. As a teacher of drama, Rosie looks forward to helping the Holcombe girls find their voices.

Rosie graduate from Warwick University with an undergraduate degree in Theatre and Performance Studies, and a PGCE. She joined Downe House in 2017 as an Assistant Housemistress in Holcombe from St George’s Ascot, where Rosie was Theatre Director in Residence. During this role, Rosie found her passion for single-sex education.

As a boarder herself, Rosie understands the importance of a close boarding community, and the impact this holds on a girls’ education and wellbeing, ensuring that Holcombe girls feel comfortable and supported to take on the opportunities presented to them.

Miss Annabel Brown

Tedworth Housemistress, Teacher of Religious Studies

Annabel is an experienced Housemistress, having previously been Housemistress of Hill at Downe House and a Housemistress in a co-ed full-boarding school. We are delighted for Annabel to return as Housemistress of Tedworth, where she will make each school year happy, productive and memorable for all.

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Miss Annabel Brown

Tedworth Housemistress, Teacher of Religious Studies

Annabel is an experienced Housemistress, having previously been Housemistress of Hill at Downe House and a Housemistress in a co-ed full-boarding school. We are delighted for Annabel to return as Housemistress of Tedworth, where she will make each school year happy, productive and memorable for all.

Annabel had a very happy time at boarding school herself before training at Drama School in London. She worked all over the world for several years as an actress, singer and event manager. She worked as a Deputy Housemistress in Essex and worked in marketing across two schools. After a while, Annabel couldn’t resist the call of reading a PGCE at Reading University, and that’s when Annabel joined Downe House!

With plenty of experience, and a warm, welcoming personality, the Tedworth girls will have a supportive and exciting atmosphere to call home.

Miss Georgiana Oldham

Willis (GO) Housemistress, Higher Education Team member, Teacher of French

Georgiana joined Downe House as an Assistant Housemistress in 2020 and is delighted to be taking on the role of Housemistress this academic year. She is a member of the Higher Education Team, teaches French and facilitates the Ivy House Award – a leadership Award for girls in the Lower Sixth.

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Miss Georgiana Oldham

Willis (GO) Housemistress, Higher Education Team member, Teacher of French

Georgiana joined Downe House as an Assistant Housemistress in 2020 and is delighted to be taking on the role of Housemistress this academic year.

‘I feel very privileged to be able to guide these girls through their final two years at Downe House. One of the many rewarding elements of this job is spending time with the girls outside the classroom and I am very much looking forward to seeing them flourish and grow.’

Georgiana graduated from the University of London, Institute of Paris with a BA in French Studies, after having spent four years studying in France. She then moved to Switzerland, where she began her career as an Assistant House Parent at an International School. She remained there for three years, rising to the position of Senior House Parent, before returning to the UK. Georgiana is currently studying remotely for a Masters in Education at the University of Bath.

In addition to her role within Willis, Georgiana is a member of the Higher Education Team and  enjoys working with the girls to help them discover their options for life after Downe. She also teaches French and facilitates the Ivy House Award – a leadership Award for girls in the Lower Sixth.

Mrs Victoria Ryan Willis housemistress meet the staff downe house

Ms Victoria Ryan

Willis (VKR) Housemistress, Drama Teacher, Head of Sixth Form General Education

Ms Victoria Ryan has been Housemistress of Willis (VKR) at Downe House for fourteen years. Alongside her role as a Sixth Form Housemistress, Ms Ryan is also Head of Sixth Form General Education and provides support to all the girls completing the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). She also teaches in the Drama Department.

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Ms Victoria Ryan

Willis (VKR) Housemistress, Drama Teacher, Head of Sixth Form General Education

After a degree in English and a PGCE in English and Drama, Victoria began teaching drama and became involved in pastoral care of Sixth Form girls as an Assistant Housemistress, working at a variety of boarding schools.

Victoria lives in Willis House with her son and enjoys working with the Sixth Form, supporting the girls both pastorally and also through the academic enrichment which she coordinates.

“I feel very privileged to share my life with the girls in Willis and I am particularly pleased to stay with the girls for two years, providing invaluable continuity from Lower to Upper Sixth.”

Miss Stephanie Toogood

York (GNH) Housemistress, Teacher of English and PE

Stephanie joined the Sixth Form Housestaff team as Housemistress of York in 2022 with a wealth of pastoral and academic experience within boarding schools. She also teaches English and PE.

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Miss Stephanie Toogood

York (GNH) Housemistress, Teacher of English and PE

Stephanie started her career at a boarding school – The Armidale School in Australia, while studying a Bachelor of Education at the University of New England. Stephanie was drawn to teaching through coaching gymnastics, which she did alongside her own training.

In 2017 she decided to make the move to the UK, to enjoy travelling Europe and gain an insight into teaching overseas. Stephanie started work at The Dragon School before moving to Queen Anne’s School as a graduate assistant in the L6 boarding house. Her last position was at Wycombe Abbey as an assistant housemistress where she also taught English and PE.

She is joined in York by her partner Charles and their energetic Welsh collie, Freddie!

Miss Kerry Treacy

York (KT), Teacher of Drama

Kerry is involved in all aspects of Sixth Form life from Housemistress to facilitating the Ivy House leadership award. Kerry is at home with the Sixth Form girls and enjoys supporting them in the next stage of their academic career.

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Miss Kerry Treacy

York (KT), Teacher of Drama

Kerry is involved in all aspects of Sixth Form life from Housemistress to facilitating the LVI Ivy House leadership award. As previous Assistant Housemistress of York, Kerry is at home with the Sixth Form girls and enjoys supporting them in the next stage of their academic career.

Kerry graduated from Exeter University with a BA in Drama. She then worked as a founder member of staff in a state free boarding school, as a Resident Fellow. She set up the Drama department and moved to Housemistress after completing her teacher training. Kerry joined Downe House as an Assistant Housemistress in York, and the girls instantly loved her caring and supportive nature.

Hear our Academic Department Heads’ Audio Postcards
Listen to them sharing their love of teaching and their subjects.

Mrs Joanne West - Head of English

Mrs Joanne West

Head of English

Mrs West loves the shared experience of a text and taking pupils on a journey of discovery in English.

LISTEN HERE

Mrs Joanne West

Head of English

Mrs Kirsten Mortimer - Head of Art

Mrs Kirsten Mortimer

Head of Art

Mrs Mortimer loves finding places to display the girls artwork – it inspires the whole community and brings a great sense of pride and achievement.

LISTEN HERE

Mrs Kirsten Mortimer

Head of Art

Dr Andrew Atherton - Director of Learning and Research & Teacher of English

Dr Andrew Atherton

Director of Learning & Research and Teacher of English

Dr Atherton ensures our girls have a whole host of exciting enrichment and learning opportunities which go above and beyond the curriculum.

LISTEN HERE

Dr Andrew Atherton

Director of Learning & Research and Teacher of English

Mrs Jane Basnett - Head of Modern Languages and Director of Digital Learning

Mrs Jane Basnett

Head of Modern Languages and Director of Digital Learning

Mrs Basnett loves getting her pupils to feel a new language and to quickly be able to say a few things about themselves with confidence.

LISTEN HERE

Mrs Jane Basnett

Head of Modern Languages and Director of Digital Learning

Mr Josh Goodall - Head of Racquet Sports

Mr Josh Goodall

Head of Racquet Sports

Mr Goodall loves to see the girls develop and flourish in racquet sports, from individual lessons and squad training sessions to competing against other schools.

LISTEN HERE

Mr Josh Goodall

Head of Racquet Sports

Dr Charlotte Exon - Director of Music

Dr Charlotte Exon

Director of Music

Dr Exon loves taking pupils on the most exciting adventure in music and seeing the impact that music can have on our girls.

LISTEN HERE

Dr Charlotte Exon

Director of Music

Mrs Kirsty Richardson - Director of Drama and Dance

Mrs Kirsty Richardson

Director of Drama and Dance

One of Mrs Richardson’s favourite things about teaching Drama is how our pupils’ confidence flourishes, even in those who don’t wish to perform on the stage.

LISTEN HERE

Mrs Kirsty Richardson

Director of Drama and Dance

Dr Rachel Pilkington - Deputy Head of Science, i/c STEM and Medicine

Dr Rachel Pilkington

Deputy Head of Science, i/c STEM and Medicine

Dr Pilkington loves having the opportunity to share her love of science and enjoys it when her pupils notice that science is all around them.

LISTEN HERE

Dr Rachel Pilkington

Deputy Head of Science, i/c STEM and Medicine

Miss Kathryn Rawlinson - Head of Geography

Miss Kathryn Rawlinson

Head of Geography

Miss Rawlinson enjoys making Geography relevant to her pupils’ own lives and creating a sense of ownership.

LISTEN HERE

Miss Kathryn Rawlinson

Head of Geography

Mrs Siobhan McClure - Head of Computing and ICT

Mrs Siobhan McClure

Head of Computing and ICT

Mrs McClure loves helping pupils to understand the simplicity of programming and the knowledge that once they realise they can do it – they are empowered.

LISTEN HERE

Mrs Siobhan McClure

Head of Computing and ICT

Tours & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House is to experience it for yourself. Book a personal tour or join us at one of our Open Mornings, available throughout the year.

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Listen to the latest Downe House PodcastHere