Staff appointments: November 2021

Independent Education Today congratulates the following on their recent appointments

Abbey College Manchester

Chris Randell


Abbey College Manchester has announced the appointment of its new principal, Chris Randell, who will take over the running of the college in January 2022 following the departure of Liz Elam, who is leaving the college after 22 years.

Randell, who has been assistant principal since September 2019, joined the college with a wealth of leadership experience, having spent the previous nine years in various senior leadership positions at international schools in the South of England and Czech Republic. Prior to moving to Prague, he was a languages teacher and head of department at a number of UK independent schools.

Elstree School

Katie Sanford


Elstree School has appointed a new head of its girls’ games department. Katie Sanford, who joined Elstree in September, was previously a tutor, PE teacher and coach at Bradfield College. She has competed at a high level in netball, athletics and gymnastics and is still a keen netball player for the Thunderbirds Netball Club in the Reading League.

Sanford joined the school after it became fully co-educational in September 2020; there are now nearly 60 girls across both the prep and pre-prep. Sanford said: “I have no doubt that girls’ sport will go from strength to strength as our numbers increase.”

St Margaret’s School

Dan Payne-Cook


St Margaret’s School in Bushey has appointed Dan Payne-Cook as its new director of sport. Having previously taught at The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, and been head of sport and housemaster at Haileybury, Payne-Cook has been teaching sport for more than two decades.

In his new role he will be responsible for enhancing the school’s sporting provision and fostering a positive, holistic learning environment. Payne-Cook is also an A-level and GCSE examiner for OCR and is also currently studying a leadership and mind-set course. He competes in league cricket on Saturdays and coaches rugby union and cricket locally on Sundays.

St Mary’s School

Jo Christian


St Mary’s School in Cambridge welcomed a new head of junior school, Jo Christian, in September. Christian has a BSc (Hons) in environmental science and a PGCE in physics from the University of Nottingham. She has teaching experience in a range of settings including secondary, primary, special needs and independent schools.

Previously at Bedford Preparatory School, Christian took on roles including head of academic support (SENDCo), head of enrichment, head of academic improvement and deputy head (academic). “I look forward to working together with our families and teachers to deliver a unique learning experience for each and every student,” she said.

Barnard Castle School

Matthew Corke


Barnard Castle School has appointed Matthew Corke as deputy head (academic), replacing Dr Michael Truss, who has become principal of Concord College. Corke was previously assistant head at Wellington College International Shanghai, where he also served as head of humanities and head of geography.

This appointment sees him return to the northeast, as he is a graduate of Durham University. “I am very much looking forward to getting to know both pupils and parents over the coming term as we continue to develop the curriculum ensuring vast academic opportunities exist both within and outside classroom for all pupils,” he said.

King Edward’s School

Linda Blair


King Edward’s School, Bath has welcomed clinical psychologist Linda Blair to its wellbeing provision. Blair has over 40 years’ experience in the NHS and private practice. She is a Chartered Scientist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and a registered member of the Health and Care Professions Council.

She will sit alongside the informal support that is offered by the school’s nurses in the health and wellbeing centre, as well the school counsellor, tutors and teaching staff. Her approach will be suitable for students suffering from problems such as anxiety and phobias, depressed mood and lack of self-confidence.

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