I grew up in Surrey, attending Wycombe Abbey School as a boarder between 1972 and 1977. After staying on an extra term to prepare and apply for Oxbridge, I then spent the rest of a gap year working as an au pair in Canada, before I started at Oxford University (Lady Margaret Hall), where I read Engineering Science. After graduating, I worked in the city for one of the big accountancy firms, qualifying as a chartered accountant three years later. After deciding to change my career (and take a significant cut in salary !) I completed a PGCE course at London University, before taking up a teaching post at Cranleigh in 1985. Sport played a big part in my life at school and university, competing at county and regional level as well as gaining blues at Oxford in tennis, squash and lacrosse (+ a half-blue in badminton !). Whilst at Oxford I also rowed for my college Ladies’ 1st VIII, and coxed the Mens’ VIII.
Some of my close friends from Oxford had gone straight into teaching after leaving, and as I saw them clearly enjoying their experiences I realised that the job and lifestyle of a “schoolmaster” in a boarding school would suit me very well. The prospect of doing a job where I could make use of my mathematical ability, alongside all the sport and pastoral elements of the role, was very appealing. I had also become increasingly disillusioned with a job where the motivation of most colleagues and clients was to make money. I wanted to be doing something where I felt I could make a positive difference in people’s lives.
I have taught at Cranleigh for 34 years, passing the 100-term milestone last year. I did not anticipate that I would stay this long, but I have never been tempted to leave, and have no regrets. Cranleigh has been a great place to work and live, and to bring up my daughter Chloe. She was so lucky to benefit from all that Cranleigh has to offer, during her time at the schools aged 7 to 18. It’s not just the school environment that has been such a positive feature of our lives; Cranleigh village is a very special place to live, and we love it (especially its coffee-shops !).
I have always been a Maths teacher, and that is still the main focus of my role at Cranleigh. I enjoy teaching all year-groups, but particularly Further Maths in the Upper Sixth. My involvement in sport has also been a key feature of my job, particularly with the shaping and development of the provision for girls. For my first 15 years I was Head of Girls’ Games, followed by a number of years as Director of Sport, running both the boys’ and girls’ sporting programmes. In recent years I have taken a more behind-the-scenes approach, as Head of Hockey and Head of Squash as well as providing administrative and strategic support and advice in a wide range of sport and co-curricular activity. Pastorally I was the warden of a Sixth Form girls’ residence until the move to full co-education in 1999, as well as being Head of Girls for a number of years, before and leading up to the transition to full co-education at the turn of the century. I also helped set up and run South in its first year of being, before the first housemistress was appointed. In my early years I tutored in boys’ houses (2&3 South, and then 2 North), but in more recent times, I have been a tutor in South House since it opened in 2001. Nowadays I try to use my wisdom and experience to support and guide a wide range of colleagues as well as pupils, on a variety of issues, and I hope there are still a good number of years left for that to continue. I’m certainly not ready to retire yet!
All the many and varied opportunities, and working with so many caring, committed and supportive colleagues. All of us in the Cranleigh Common Room have a shared vision of helping young people to thrive and make the most of their lives. Sometimes it can be a battle, with stressful and difficult situations to overcome, but we are in it together, and hopefully the rewards are sufficient to encourage and sustain us. Inevitably when you stay so long in one place, you have to say goodbye often to close friends and colleagues, but their legacy lives on, and it is great to get to know new generations continuing the good work, and helping to make Cranleigh the special place that it is.