Key staff appointments for the new academic year

Headmistress, Mrs McKendrick has announced a number of new appointments for the next academic year to support the continued growth and development of every aspect of school life at Downe House.

15 September 2020

Mrs Michelle Scott has been appointed Deputy Head in her 24th year at Downe House and having successfully led the international development, fundraising, admissions and marketing departments within the Foundation Office for the last 10 years. Taking over from Mrs Scott as Director of the Foundation Office and International Educational Development is Mr Alun Jones, former Head of Chetham’s School of Music and St Gabriel’s School in Newbury. Mr Jones is also a former President of the Girls’ Schools Association and a trained Schools’ Inspector.


There have been further changes to the Leadership Team with Mrs Philippa Toogood taking over responsibility for the operational side of the School, examinations, inspection preparation and Learning Skills and moving into the role of Assistant Head. Mrs Judith Gilpin Jones (Head of Lower School), Mrs Anna Dourountakis (Head of Upper School), and Ms Mel Stimson (Head of Sixth Form), have also all become Assistant Heads for their respective sections.

On the pastoral side, two new Director of Boarding positions have been created in order to support Mrs Genevieve Ford, Deputy Head (Pastoral) and to further strengthen the boarding management team. Mrs Ellen Llewellyn will focus on Operations and Mrs Sofia McClymont will take responsibility for House Management. Both are experienced Housemistresses who truly understand the pastoral side of the School. Mrs Tara Reeve, who has been responsible for Prep Schools’ Liaison as well as being a Sixth Form Housemistress, has taken on the role of Director of Admissions.

Our new Head of Art is Mrs Kirsten Mortimer who has taught Art at Downe House since 2002 and worked closely with Mrs Sally Scott who retired this summer after teaching Art, and latterly leading the Art Department, for 35 years. Over in the ICT Department, Mrs Siobhan McClure has been appointed Head of ICT and Computing. Mrs Charlotte Jones joins us from Edgeborough School as Director of Pupil Progress and Mrs Isabelle Wallace takes on the position of Head of French from Rossall School in Lancashire. Our new Head of Academic Scholars is Mrs Maria Reichardt who combines this role with her teaching in the Modern Foreign Languages department.

In the Estates Department, Mr Dougie Brown has been appointed Head of General Services joining us from the British Army, and Mr Glyn Holdstock takes up the role of Head of Maintenance and Facilities, having previously worked for Shooting Star Children’s Hospices where he was Head of Facilities.

As part of the enormously successful Digital Strategy, which has seen the School awarded the status of Microsoft Showcase School for the third year running, three existing members of staff are taking on larger digital roles in order to support and move the Digital Strategy onto the next phase. Mrs Jane Basnett (Head of Modern Languages) is now also Director of Digital Learning; Mrs Katharine Henson joins her in the Digital Strategy team to become Director of Curriculum Administration and Digital Learning, and Mr Peter Webb will take on the role of Assistant Director of Digital Learning in addition to being Teacher of Physics and IT Co-ordinator for Science. The trio will become champions of this very important key development area of school life.

Mrs McKendrick said,

 On behalf of all the staff, I would like to congratulate our colleagues on their new appointments, both at senior level and within every department. I am looking forward to working closely with all of them to take the School forward in line with our aims and ambitions over the year ahead.’

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