People are what make our school inspirational. 

Find out more about our senior leadership team in their profiles and the other members of staff that support our school and the success of our students.

Ian Thorpe

Ian Thorpe


Ian’s track record in the Surrey prep schools sector is impressive. Prior to joining Downsend he was Headmaster at Chinthurst, Head of City of London Freemen’s Junior School and Deputy Head at ...

Vanessa Conlan

Vanessa Conlan

Head - Little Downsend Ashtead, Epsom and Leatherhead

An experienced teacher of 20 years, the last 8 in headship, Vanessa is a graduate of the University of Southampton where she obtained a BEd (Hons) in Primary Education with music specialism.

Karl Newland

Karl Newland

Head of Senior School

An experienced teacher of 23 years Karl is a graduate of Surrey (BSc), Southampton (PGCE) and Buckingham Universities and holds a Master’s Degree in Education.  He has been both a Head of Scienc...

Clare Kirkham

Clare Kirkham

Head of Junior School

A graduate of Leeds University and the Institute of Education, Clare began her teaching career, at Barfield Preparatory School in Farnham. During her 5 years there, she became Head of the Pre-Prep ...

Jon Albert

Jon Albert

Assistant Head

As a secondary trained teacher with a BSc degree and MA in Educational Leadership & Management from Kingston University, Jon has a wealth ...

Business Manager
Kate Timms

Kate Timms

Head of Marketing and Admissions

After gaining her degree from the University of Exeter in 2001, Kate has pursued a career in marketing, events and recruitment. Initially working in agencies to support the pharmaceutical sector in...

Albert Jonathan Assistant Head (Enrichment) TEACHER BSc (Hons), QTS
Albert Lauren Junior School Administrator ADMINISTRATION
Allison Nicole Head of Music TEACHER Bmus, Dip.Ed
Aylen Julia Head of Art TEACHER BSc, PGCE
Barron Kate Bank School Nurse ADMINISTRATION
Bates Lucy Teaching Assistant CLASSROOM ASSISTANT
Bayley Marian KS2 ClassTeacher & Head of Year 3 TEACHER BA (Music), PGCE
Birch Victoria KS2 Class Teacher TEACHER PGCE
Black Helen Deputy Head of Junior School & Head of History TEACHER BA (Hons), PGCE
Blackwell Robert Minibus Driver ADMINISTRATION
Brettell Joanne Senior School Administrator ADMINISTRATION
Brewer Kevin Facilities Manager MAINTENANCE
Brook Jan School Receptionist ADMINISTRATION
Bruce Wendy Facilities Administrator ADMINISTRATION
Brunt Lisa Assessment & Exams Manager TEACHER BEd (Hons)
Bryant Christopher Head of Drama TEACHER BA (Hons), PGCE, QTS
Butcher Sarah KS1 Teacher TEACHER BEd (Hons)
Carmody Ljubica KS2 Class Teacher & 2ic ICT TEACHER Graduated Teacher, QTS
Coates Camilla KS2 Class Teacher & Head of JS English TEACHER BA (Hons), PGCE
Cooper-James Claire Teacher of PE & Girls’ Games TEACHER BSc (Hons), PGCE
Corr Sharon Teaching Assistant CLASSROOM ASSISTANT
Corr Sharon Teaching Assistant CLASSROOM ASSISTANT
Coulson Charlotte KS2 Class Teacher TEACHER GTP with QTS
Crow Michelle Teaching Assistant & ELSA CLASSROOM ASSISTANT
Davies Becky KS1-2 Class Teacher TEACHER BA (Hons) Geography, PGCE
Day Beth Head of Design &Technology TEACHER BA (Hons), EAFL, QTS
De Vries Yvette KS2 Class Teacher, Head Yr2  & Deputy DSL TEACHER Higher Dip.Ed, Further Dip.Ed
Deane-Armstrong Abbie Teaching Assistant CLASSROOM ASSISTANT
Driscoll Caroline KS1-2 Teacher and HoY5 TEACHER Bachelor of Education, Diploma of Higher Education
Duffield Matthew Head of English TEACHER BA Hons in Communication Studies, PGCE
Dunning Adrian Senior Teacher & Teacher of Geography TEACHER B Ed (Hons)
Early Nikki Learning Support Administrator (mat cover) ADMINISTRATION
Elmas Stephanie Teacher of English TEACHER BA (Hons), MA, QTS
Friend Emily KS2 Class Teacher & Lower School G&T Co-ordinator TEACHER BA (Hons), PGCE
Graham Jenny Head of Religious Studies TEACHER Cert.Ed
Gray Heidi Teacher of Music TEACHER BA (Hons), PGCE
Grimmer Alison Teacher of Mathematics TEACHER BA (Ed) Hons
Hallam Louise Teacher of French & Spanish TEACHER BA (Hons), PGCE
Hallsworth Sarah SENCO SPECIAL NEEDS BA, Dyslexia Action Training, SEND
Hammett Suzanne Learning Support Specialist SPECIAL NEEDS OCR Level 5 Diploma
Hardwick Lisa School Receptionist ADMINISTRATION
Harrison Hannah Admissions Manager ADMINISTRATION
Harrison Paul Teacher of Geography TEACHER BSc, PGCE
Hawes Jo Teacher of PE & Girls’ Games & Head of Year 6 TEACHER BEd (Hons), M.Ed.
Haylett Tanya Teacher of English TEACHER BA (Hons), QTS
Hayward Katharine Teacher of English TEACHER BA (Hons)
Henderson Michael Premises Assistant MAINTENANCE
Howe Rupert Teacher of PE & Boys’ Games TEACHER BA (Hons), PGCE
Hurley Rebecca Teacher of PE & Games TEACHER BA
Hurley Rebecca Teacher of PE & Games TEACHER PGCE
Hyam Thomas Teacher of PE & Games TEACHER BASc, PGCE with QTS
Izatt Jill Teaching Assistant CLASSROOM ASSISTANT
Jackson Sophie Teacher of Art TEACHER BA, QTS
Keen Katherine Admissions Assistant ADMINISTRATION
Kendrick Rosie Teaching Assistant CLASSROOM ASSISTANT
Kirby Davina Head of Science TEACHER BSc (Hons), MA in Science Education, PGCE, PhD in Education
Kirkham Clare Head of Junior School TEACHER BA (Hons), PGCE, NPQH
Lawrence Grant Director of Sport TEACHER BA (Hons), QTS
Ludlam Natasha KS2 Class Teacher TEACHER MA(Hons), PGCE
Marchant John Finance Officer ADMINISTRATION
McCready Steve Minibus Driver ADMINISTRATION
Mercer Anna Teacher of Maths, HoY 7 & Head of KS2/3Transition TEACHER BA (Hons) with QTS
Moore Craig Teacher of PE and Games TEACHER BSc (Hons) Sports, PE & Coaching Science
Newberry Jodie KS2 Class Teacher & HoY4 (Academic) TEACHER BA (Hons), QTS
Newland Karl Head of Senior School TEACHER BSc (Hons), PGCE, MEd
Nicholls Carla Teaching Assistant CLASSROOM ASSISTANT
Orr Sarah Teaching Assistant CLASSROOM ASSISTANT
Pankhania Vinnita SEN Administrator ADMINISTRATION
Park Jane School Nurse ADMINISTRATION
Paul James KS2 Class Teacher TEACHER PGCE
Peacock Caroline PA to Headmaster ADMINISTRATION
Pearne Tim Junior School Leader of Learning & Innovation TEACHER B Mus (Hons), PGCE
Popham Marc KS2 Class Teacher TEACHER BSc (Hons), QTS
Potter Iain Premises Assistant MAINTENANCE
Ralph Anne-Marie Marketing Manager ADMINISTRATION
Richardson Alison Classroom Support Assistant SPECIAL NEEDS
Rodriguez Turano Ceci Girls Hockey Coach CLASSROOM ASSISTANT
Rogers Ing-Marie Teaching Assistant CLASSROOM ASSISTANT
Rowden Matthew Teacher of Science TEACHER BASc, PGCS
Sehgal Michelle Teacher of Science & 2ic Science TEACHER BA (Hons) QTS
Seivewright Marie Head of Girls’ Sport TEACHER BEd (Hons)
Silva Lee Dep Hd SSch, HoY8,Science,Head of Digital Learning TEACHER Bed, MA, QTS
Simmons Craig Business Manager ADMINISTRATION Dip School Business Management, Advanced Dip in Admin Management
Skerry Gemma Learning Support Assistant SPECIAL NEEDS
Skitt Martin Head of Languages TEACHER BA, MA, PGCE, QTS
Skitt Sarah Head of Humanities TEACHER BA, PGCE
Smith Heather Teaching Assistant CLASSROOM ASSISTANT
Stack Laura Head of Maths TEACHER BSc, PGCE
Staddon Ginny Learning Support Assistant SPECIAL NEEDS
Sutton Amy KS2 ClassTeacher and 2ic Maths TEACHER BSc (Hons), PGCE
Taylor Susanna French Teacher, 2ic Languages TEACHER BA (Hons), PGCE
Temlett Robyn Teacher – Librarian TEACHER Bachelor of Science, PGCE
Temlett Sally KS1 Class Teacher & Head of JS Maths TEACHER BA (Hons), PGCE
Thorpe Ian Headmaster TEACHER BEd (Hons), MA (Ed)
Timms Kate Head of Marketing & Admissions ADMINISTRATION Dip Marketing
Trigg Ursula Specialist Learning Support Tutor SPECIAL NEEDS
Vanstone Dee Second i/c English & Head of PSHE TEACHER BEd
Wilby Chelsea KS1 Class Teacher TEACHER BA (Hons)
Winn Alexa KS1-2 Class Teacher TEACHER BA Hons, PGCE
Wood Sue HR Administrator ADMINISTRATION
Younas Anthony Teacher of Modern Foreign Languages TEACHER BA (Hons), PGCE
Young Catherine Teaching Assistant CLASSROOM ASSISTANT

Member of Staff Age Group Taught / Additional Roles Qualifications


Tessa Roberts



Health and Safety Coordinator

Behaviour Management Officer






Janet Catlow



Year One

Deputy Head

Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)



BA (Hons), PGCE

Christeen Hill Reception

Early Years Coordinator

Melanie Chipperton Reception

Early Years DSL

Deputy DSL

Educational Visits Coordinator

BA (Hons), PGCE
Julie James First Steps NVQ3
Sally Rose Rising Reception NVQ3
Sarah Murray French BA (Hons), PGCE
Rachel Shaw Music Theatre Studies
Sally Thomas Dance / Drama Dance Teacher Cert.
Teaching Assistants


Tracey Cobb



First Steps

Shazia Gale First Steps
Katherine Gray First Steps

Year One

Ella Hodgkinson Rising Reception

Teacher Afternoons FS & RR

Amanda Humphries Year One

Early Birds Supervisor

Extended Day Supervisor

Sally Jones Rising Reception
Cindy Lockyer First Steps

Teacher Afternoons FS & RR

Avril Macfarlane   Reception

Early Birds Assistant

Debbie Nicholson First Steps

Year One

Extended Day Supervisor

Catering / Extended Day

Jan Filby



Extended Day Assistant

Clare McCluskey Cook


Sarah Hegarty



School Secretary

Member of Staff Age Group Taught Qualifications
Mrs V Conlan Head Teacher BEd (Hons), NPQH
Head of School
Mrs L Burns Year 1 teacher
Mr J Bayley Music Teacher BMus, MPerf
Mrs K Bees FS and RR sports teacher
Mrs S Butler Reception Class Teacher BEd (Hons)
Mrs A Burbidge Year 1 Teacher BEd (Hons)
Mrs A Carruthers Early Years Leader & First Steps (currently on maternity leave) BA (Hons), QTS
Miss C Clayton Rising Reception Class Teacher BA (Hons)
Mrs Freeman-White Dance Teacher (Maternity Leave
Mrs S Murray French Teacher
Miss M Seivewright Swimming teacher ASA Swimming
Mr R Parsons R and Y1 games teacher
Mrs J Simpson First Steps teacher (Maternity Cover) BEd (Hons)
Mrs Emma Taylor SENCo Bed (Hons) OCR Cert, SpLD, National SENCo award
Ms Verity Penn Dance Teacher (Maternity Cover)
Teaching Assistants
Mrs S Bullock Extended day Supervisor NVQ Level 4 Early Years Education & Childcare
Miss K Coles Teaching Assistant & Extended day supervisor NVQ Level 5 Early Years Education & Childcare
Miss R Goldsmith Teaching Assistant
Mrs J Jackson Teaching Assistant Montessori diploma
Ms S Joss Teaching Assistant
Mrs S Matthews Teaching Assistant
Miss T-J McLaren Midday Supervisor & Teaching Assistant NVQ2
Miss J Organ Teaching Assistant NVQ3
Mrs S Strange Teaching Assistant NVQ3
Miss J White Teaching Assistant NVQ Level 5 Early Years Education & Childcare
Mrs J Thomson Cook
Miss J Shacklock Catering Assistant
Mrs A Tucker School Secretary

Member of Staff  Age Group Taught  Qualifications 
Vanessa Conlan    BEd (Hons), NPQH 
Head of school     
Amy Hodges  Reception 


BA Hons Early Years 


Vanda Laverock  Year 1  BA Hons with QTS 
Emma Taylor  SENCO  Bed (Hons) OCR Cert, SpLD, National SENCo award 
Jessica Barber  Reception  BA Hons   



Jenny Ellis  Rising Reception 

Little Downsend Teaching, Learning and Assessment Lead 

BA Hons with QTS 
Catherine McInnes  Year 1  PGCE with QTS 

Digital Champion 

Carolyn Potter  First Steps 

Pastoral Lead 

BA Hons Early Years  



Rachel Shaw  Music  Theatre Studies 
Liz Roscoe  French  BA Hons 
Chelsea Wilby  Swimming  ASA Swimming 
Teaching Assistants     
Amy Bassett  Early Years   
Toni Toledo  Rising Reception   
Tracey Tullett  Reception   
Heidi Bazlinton  Year 1   
Kelly Hilsley  Year 1   
Catering Staff     
Elaine Hook  Caterer   
Antonella Menhennet  Kitchen Assistant   
Esther Booth   School Secretary   
Peripatetic staff     
Jay Bristow  Woodlands Forest School   
Lisa Hardwick  Potastics   
Elisa Hamer  Stagestars   
Rob Parsons  Josh Evans Soccer School   

Name, address and telephone number of Proprietor:

Cognita Schools,

5 & 7 Diamond Court,
Opal Drive,
Eastlake Park,
Fox Milne,
Milton Keynes,
MK15 0DU

01908 396250

Director of Education:


James Carroll
01908 396250

01372 372197