Breakout sessions - Biographies

Charlie Barker
Charlie has been at Stowe for 10 years and is the Chair of the Humanities Faculty. He teaches Politics and has been a big fan of developing classroom strategies to develop a growth mindset in pupils. Now working in middle leadership, Charlie completed the NPQML qualification last year which focused on marginal gains in education as the title of his project. His session will cover some of the practical things that were done in Politics to improve A level exam results.

Sophie Banks
Sophie Banks is currently Head of the Junior Department at Beachborough School. Prior to joining Beachborough she worked at both Dulwich Prep London, as a teacher and houseparent, and City of London Freemen's School, Surrey. It was whilst completing her Masters in Educational Leadership with Buckingham University that her interest for Dr Carol Dweck's work was sparked. Since January, 2015 Beachborough has undertaken a project to embed the mindset work of Dr Carol Dweck and merge it with the philosophies of Guy Clayton. This is intended to develop children who are without limitations and have the essential skills required to be good at learning. Sophie has also recently been the educational consultant for mindset4schools a website that provides guidance and structure to schools who want to embark on the mindset journey.  

Sarah Bonney O'Connell
Sarah has worked for over 20 years in the heath and fitness industry and fully believes that a healthy mind and healthy body a intrinsically linked. Bringing together physical fitness, Pilates, Massage, Reiki and meditation to achieve metal and physical harmony that allows us to fully embrace our potential. Mindfulness is about allowing ourselves to see and feel the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives. Mindfulness is about knowing what is going on inside and out of our bodies moment to moment. "It's easy to stop noticing the world around us. It's also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living 'in our heads' – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour."  

David Critchley
David first joined the Combined Cadet Force as an adult volunteer in 1985. Since then he has run Royal Naval Sections at two schools and is now in his fourth year as Contingent Commander at Stowe CCF. He is also Buckinghamshire representative Contingent Commander at meetings of the CCF Association. He is a qualified RYA Dinghy and Power Boat instructor and holds RYA Day Skipper Power & Sail. He served in the Royal Naval Reserve unit at Northwood HQ in the closing years of the Cold War. David has a degree in Classics and a post graduate qualification in Theology and has spent most of his life teaching Classics. His publications include book reviews and a monograph in church archaeology. 

Katy Dallimore
Katy was appointed by the Department for Education as a Specialist Leader of Education, specialising in learning and teaching in Science and initial teacher training. A previous Head of Biology in secondary and Lead Practitioner, Katy is currently Head of Science and Pupil Progress Co-ordinator at Winchester House in Brackley.

Craig Donoghue
Before Stowe, Craig lived north of the border where he studied Physics and taught at Dundee and Edinburgh Universities. He has worked at a boarding summer school in the north of Scotland for the past seven years, more recently as a Housemaster – it was working there that led Craig to decide that teaching is the career for him. After a brief stint in radio, and an even briefer stint in nuclear research, Craig decided to embark upon his real passion – education. Assistant Housemaster in Bruce, co-ordinator of the Lower School Academic Scholars, Master in Charge of Debating, Duke of Edinburgh, occasional singer with the School Chapel and Chamber Choirs and rock climbing enthusiast, Craig loves to learn new things, and the beauty of teaching for him is learning new things from colleagues and pupils on a daily basis. 

Marykate Edwards
Marykate (Lyttelton 97) studied Architectural History at Edinburgh University 1998-2002.  From there she did her PGCE (Secondary) at Goldsmiths University, London in Art and Design. Her first teaching job was at Greenshaw High School, Sutton. Having married in 2004, she moved to Oxford and worked as an Art teacher at the Dragon Prep School, becoming Head of Art in her second year there. In 2008 she took time out from teaching to look after her two children (Wilf 8 and Sam 7). In 2013 she was appointed Housemistress of Cherwell House, the Senior girls’ boarding house at the Dragon. This is home to c.48 girls aged 11-13. Marykate is interested in exploring the possibilities of using pictures, imagery and creativeness in group discussions to enhance the pastoral support for the children. Marykate enjoys most sports, especially tennis and skiing. She also enjoys spending time with her family, which now includes Florence (18 months), born during Marykate’s time in Cherwell. 

Will Goldsmith
Will was the Head of the English Faculty at Stowe from 2012-2016 and is now Head of English at Latymer School in London. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a Masters in English Literature and began work as an English teacher in Paris, before returning to England in 2004. He has taught at Sacred Heart High School in Hammersmith, Lady Margaret School and Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School before coming to Stowe. Will was pivotal in several exciting initiatives at Stowe including the introduction of the Stowenet VLE, the use of classroom cameras and the staff training program that this session will focus on.  

Paul Griffin
Paul has been a teacher for seven years. He was appointed as Head of History at Stowe in 2015 and in 2016 was also made Head of Digital Learning. He is not an IT expert but he does passionately believe that technology being already used in the personal lives of millions could be used to enrich teaching and learning. He recently completed an MA in Education and used his dissertation to examine the potential of digital 'gamification' in the classroom. 

Chris Holmwood
Chris Holmwood is Senior Deputy Headteacher at Shenley Brook End School in Milton Keynes and Principal of the School’s Leadership and Training Centre. Chris has experience as Acting Headteacher and Associate Headteacher. Passionate about leadership development and its impact upon high quality teaching and learning, school improvement and student attainment, Chris is a trained Consultant Leader and an accredited facilitator on National College programmes. Much of Chris’ work is in the areas of innovation and creativity and today’s session and draws upon his experience as a Learning Associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Chris is also Leadership Director for the Whole Education Network. The Leadership and Training Centre seek to enable all leaders in schools to fulfil their potential and to contribute to the creation of an educational climate that makes it possible for every child to do likewise. 

Fiona James
Fiona began her career at Stowe in September 2013 teaching mathematics as well as coaching hockey and being involved in the CCF. Before joining Stowe she taught at Wellington College, Berkshire where she was an Assistant Housemistress. Fiona read Mechanical Engineering at university before joining the British Army and serving all over the world. She then moved into engineering consultancy within the oil and gas industry before finally turning to teaching. 

Dr Dominique Koubovec
Dominique Koubovec has a PhD in Molecular Biology, with post-doctoral experience in the fields of Psychiatry and Psychobiology. Over the past 16 years, she has completed numerous personal development and parenting courses and facilitated group and individual sessions in personal growth. She is passionate about parenting and helping children thrive. 

Jack Palmer
Jack graduated from the University of East Anglia with a Starred First in English Literature, during which time he instructed an A Level in Creative Writing at a local Sixth Form Centre. After this, Jack went to Cambridge to read for an MPhil in Modern and Contemporary Literature; his dissertation focused on British novels of the Second World War, late Modernism and haptic phenomenology. Jack is Under Housemaster of Chatham, Sixth Form Tutor and a Football Coach/Referee. He worked extensively in his NQT year with classroom cameras to refine his classroom skills and is now leading development of classroom cameras at Stowe.

James Peppiatt
James has been the Housemaster of Cobham at Stowe since 2012. He came to Stowe in September 2009 and was Head of English and Faculty Chair of the Languages Faculty from 2010-2012. Prior to Stowe James taught at Ibstock Place School in London for five years and before that practised as a solicitor in the City of London. He was educated at Marlborough College and Edinburgh University, where he read English Literature. James is currently undertaking a Masters in Educational Leardership course at Buckingham University, where he is writing his dissertation on AS Tracking.  

Michael Rickner
Mike is entering his second year as the School’s EPQ coordinator. The first cohort through was made up of 20 pupils who completed the EPQ outside of timetabled lessons. The year's cohort is made up of over 100 pupils who have chosen the EPQ and they have either two or four periods a week of timetabled lessons. The course runs from January to December and Stoics are divided amongst the seven EPQ supervisors who also deliver the taught course during the Lent term. 

Philip Schonken 
Having been born in South Africa and graduated from Rhodes University, Philip moved to the UK in 2000. He taught Business Studies and ICT and Computing at Eastbourne College, before moving to Bloxham School as Head of Department and Sixth Form Master. For the past six years he has been a Housemaster at Gordonstoun, a co-educational full boarding school in the North East of Scotland. Outdoor activities and skills such as seamanship and mountaineering are emphasised as an important part of its education as it seeks to challenge an individual and take them out of their areas of familiarity and comfort, improving their ability to deal with difficult situations. Gordonstoun was one of the founding schools of Round Square in 1966. Philip is now the international co-ordinator at Gordonstoun where his focus of education is centred on the pupils’ ability to understand different cultures and exposing these pupils to international experiences.

Craig Sutton
Craig joined Stowe in September 1996 after graduating from Exeter University with a degree in Sports Science and Geography. He took over running the Physical Education and Sports Science Department in September 2000 and began his role as Bruce Housemaster in September 2008. Craig has played rugby for London Wasps and the South West of England, and has also coached up to divisional level. Craig qualified for the ITU World Triathlon Championships to represent the GB age-group team competing in the Sprint Distance Triathlon in Cozumel, Mexico in September 2016. 

Chris Townsend
Chris graduated from Oxford in 1995 with a degree in Classics before returning to his old school, Dean Close, to start a teaching career. At Dean Close he was Head of Cricket and a Housemaster, before moving to Stowe to be Housemaster of Grafton. After seven years at Stowe, which included the role of Head of Boarding, Chris moved to Felsted as Deputy Head, initially with pastoral responsibility, but then taking on the academic role as well. In 2015 Chris was promoted to become Headmaster at Felsted, a co-educational boarding school in Essex with just over 1,000 pupils from the age of 4 to 18, and a school with a strong reputation for the breadth of its offer. Felsted has been a Round Square School for nine years, becoming a full global member in 2013. Chris believes that independent education affords schools the opportunity to focus on the development of the individual, with character development and well-being both featuring among the aims of the school.

Dr Anthony Wallersteiner
Anthony Wallersteiner has been Headmaster of Stowe since 2003. In 2006 he was awarded the title ‘Tatler Headmaster of the Year’ and Stowe was shortlisted as Best School in 2009 and in 2014. Anthony was awarded a History Scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge and gained a doctorate from the University of Kent for his dissertation on the St Ives artist, Peter Lanyon. He has taught History, English and History of Art at a number of schools – including Sherborne, St Paul’s and Tonbridge (where he was a Housemaster, Head of History, m/ic of General Studies and Oxbridge). Anthony was a Council Member of Tate St Ives and is a governor at Ashfold Prep School, Maidwell Hall Prep School, Summer Fields Prep School and Winchester House Prep School. He is Chairman of the charity Children in Crisis which has helped 1.3m children in post-conflict countries since its foundation in 1993 and has written numerous articles on 20th Century artists for The Burlington Magazine and has contributed articles on education to The Week, The Daily Telegraph and Country Life. He has written chapters for two books on schools – ‘Cradles of Success’ and ‘The Head Speaks’.